NEW JERSEY — U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), a member of the Congressional Lyme Disease Caucus, Thursday announced bipartisan federal action to combat ticks, spread awareness to protect families, and boost investment in R&D for Lyme disease treatment.
Gottheimer was joined by environmental experts to highlight how North Jersey families can protect themselves from ticks and Lyme disease as they enjoy outdoor activities this summer.
According to data from 2020, the incidence rate of Lyme in New Jersey was more than five times the U.S. average and New Jersey had the fifth-highest Lyme disease case rates in the country. In 2021, there were 38 Lyme disease cases per 100,000 people in New Jersey. 50 percent of Lyme disease cases in New Jersey occur in June and July.
Annually, there are around 476,000 cases of Lyme disease reported across the United States. There is currently no cure for Lyme disease.
Gottheimer announced that he is introducing the following bipartisan bills:
- The bipartisan Tick Identification Pilot Program Act will award federal grants through the CDC for states to implement tick-identification programs. The program works by taking a picture of the tick, noting the location and date where it was encountered, and submitting it to a database to track encounters and best practices. Rep. Tom Kean Jr. (NJ-7) is helping lead this bipartisan legislation. The bipartisan bill will:
- Allow individuals to electronically report tick incidents and receive feedback within 72 hours from experts as to the appropriate follow-up action.
- Boost research and education efforts, and spread awareness of where ticks are and where families should be careful.
- Help families know the steps they should take and if they should seek medical help after a bite.
- Require the CDC to submit a report to Congress on steps they are taking and the effectiveness of the program.
- The bipartisan Stamp Out Lyme Disease Act will create a new postage stamp to supplement congressionally-appropriated research funding for Lyme and tick-borne disease treatments at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It will boost investment in R&D for Lyme disease treatment. Rep. Don Bacon (NE-2) is helping lead this bipartisan legislation.
“As we kick off the summer, we need to be aware of the real, legitimate threat of ticks, and a crippling disease they can spread, Lyme disease,” Gottheimer said. “I want families to protect themselves from ticks and from the Lyme disease they may carry, all while enjoying the natural beauty we have to offer. And I want our residents and families who’ve been affected by Lyme disease to know I stand with them — to push federal bipartisan action forward to boost investment in finding new treatments, and to make sure any child with any impairment or disability from this disease can get the educational services and care they need.”
“This new legislation helps the Trail Conference advance our mission to ensure the trails and natural resources are accessible to the public,” said New York-New Jersey Trail Conference Director of Programs Hank Osborn. “In the later part of the last century of trail work, it has become clear that ticks and tick-borne illness are a barrier to outdoor recreation. Getting a handle on the tick situation will only improve our ability to help people get outdoors, out into the woods, and connect with nature. On behalf of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, thank you, Congressman Gottheimer.”
Gottheimer was joined at the Ramapo Valley County Reservation in Mahwah by Mahwah Council Member Michelle Crowe Paz, New York-New Jersey Trail Conference Director of Programs Hank Osborn, New York-New Jersey Trail Conference Advancement Director Pat Gallagher, and New York-New Jersey Trail Conference New Jersey Program Director Jesse Merbler.